Asbestos Exposure: Key Considerations for Veterans and Military Personnel

Elderly military veteran salutes the flag

Asbestos exposure is a concern that has long plagued varied industries, but it's a topic that holds unique significance for veterans and military personnel. If you've served in the military, particularly in the Navy, you may have been exposed to asbestos without realizing it. So today, we hope to shed light on asbestos exposure in the military, the potential health risks, and the steps you can take to protect your health and legal rights. If you're a veteran, read on to find out what you need to know.

What Is Asbestos, and Why Was It Used in the Military?

Before diving into its military applications, it's essential to understand what asbestos is and why it was considered useful. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that is highly resistant to heat, electricity, and chemical corrosion, making it ideal for various industrial uses. The military found these properties especially useful. In particular, the Navy used asbestos extensively in ships, submarines, and aircraft due to its fire-resistant properties. It was also commonly found in insulation, gaskets, and other components throughout the service branches. Unfortunately, this widespread use put countless service members at risk of asbestos exposure.

Unique Risks of Asbestos Exposure in the Military

Serving in the military presents its own unique hurdles and dangers, and the added issue of asbestos exposure further complicates matters. From the 1930s to the 1970s, all branches of the armed forces extensively used asbestos and products containing it.

Asbestos on Navy Ships

Veterans who served on Navy ships have an exceptionally high risk of asbestos exposure. The confined spaces and poor ventilation in these vessels made it easy for asbestos fibers to circulate, putting everyone on board at risk.

Other High-Risk Roles

Aside from the Navy, other branches of the military also used asbestos in various capacities. Mechanics, engineers, and construction personnel were often exposed to asbestos-containing materials, increasing their risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.

Common Asbestos-Related Diseases From Asbestos Exposure In the Military

Understanding the diseases related to asbestos exposure can help veterans take proactive steps for their health. Below are some common diseases related to asbestos exposure in the military:


One of the most severe diseases linked to asbestos exposure in the military is mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart.


Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. While not as deadly as mesothelioma, it can severely impact your quality of life.

Lung Cancer

Asbestos exposure also increases the risk of lung cancer, especially when combined with other risk factors like smoking and vaping.

Seeking Medical Care and Compensation

If you suspect you've been exposed to asbestos during your military service, seeking medical care is crucial. Early detection can make a significant difference in treatment outcomes. Additionally, you may be eligible for compensation through the Department of Veterans Affairs or other avenues.

Legal Assistance: Why You Need an Asbestos Attorney

Navigating the legal landscape can be complex, especially when dealing with something as specialized as asbestos exposure. An asbestos attorney can guide you through the process, helping you gather evidence, file claims, and secure the compensation you deserve.

Cooney & Conway: Your Asbestos Attorney

Asbestos exposure in the military is a serious concern with long-term implications for veterans. While the risks are significant, knowledge is the first step in protecting your health and legal rights. 

Cooney & Conway is a plaintiff-only personal injury law firm based in Chicago, Illinois. Unlike most other personal injury law firms, Cooney & Conway works tirelessly with clients throughout the entire process of their cases. Asbestos exposure in the military is a serious deal, and if you believe that you have been exposed, Contact Us for a free case evaluation or call (800) 322-5573.